In the wake of Pearl Harbor, the only thing Americans had to fear at home was fear itself, a dread nurtured, ironically, by President Franklin Roosevelt, who had warned the country in 1933 against giving in to panic.
Weaving together first-person interviews and government documents in this one-of-a-kind study, award-winning author Stephen Fox tells the inside story of the internment and exclusion of thousands of German Americans during the Second World War. Officials sought to protect the country from spies and saboteurs, but they strayed far beyond. Soon, political and military leaders, bureaucrats, informants, and suspects became trapped in a dehumanizing web of mutual arrogance, distrust, fear, and panic, where internal security decisions turned on the personality or character of suspects rather than their danger to the country.
Fear Itself is crucial to understanding how the United States stepped so easily into the anxious post-9/11 world of Patriot Acts and homeland security: color-coded terror warnings, ethnic profiling, preventive detention, open-ended incarceration, even for those no longer considered 'dangerous," unchecked executive power, and the loss of citizenship.